Definition of circumvent
- the setup circumvented the red tape
- —Lynne McTaggart
- circumvent a problem
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We circumvented the problem by using a different program.
He found a way to circumvent the law.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'circumvent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
If you’ve ever felt as if someone were circling around the rules, you have an idea of the origins of "circumvent" - it derives from the Latin circum, meaning "circle," and "ventus," the past participle of the Latin verb venire, meaning "to come." The earliest uses of "circumvent" referred to a tactic of hunting or warfare in which the quarry or enemy was encircled and captured. Today, however, "circumvent" more often suggests avoidance than entrapment; it typically means to "get around" someone or something, as in our example sentences.
: to avoid being stopped by (something, such as a law or rule) : to get around (something) in a clever and sometimes dishonest way
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